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Searching For The Right People On LinkedIn


Dave Taylor Posted by

I’m an HR executive and I’ve very recently started using LinkedIn and found it very interesting and helpful but I’m having problems regarding how to use LinkedIn when it comes to searching for the right people, e.g. I’m particularly searching for managers, or asst.managers in IT industry. How do i locate them on LinkedIn?

Dave’s Answer:

In some sense, the problem you’re having is because LinkedIn is the proverbial victim of its own success: with over 15 million people in its database, just about any search is going to produce lots of matches, and if you have a large network and you’re not sufficiently specific in your search criteria, you could easily have thousands of matches, particularly for a vague search like “IT manager”.

To help get some insight into your problem, I asked my colleague Mike O’Neil for his suggestions. Mike teaches executives and other professionals how to maximize the benefit from LinkedIn, so he’s perfect for this question. Here’s what he shared:



It helps to start with a big network with which to search on. Bigger network = more results = better results since you can qualify them better.

The Keyword field is your best friend here (the job title field isn’t so useful in your searches as people call themselves different things nowadays, even within the same company). The keyword field is also rich on Boolean search options. Think of all then variants in the job titles and use each of them in searches to see what yields the best results. Assistant vs. Asst. VP vs. Vice President etc. You can use thesaurus.com to get other ideas on job title variants.

Boolean = “this text” AND “That Text” NOT “This other Text”, for example.

If you are searching for candidates in a particular region, the Location field is important – choose “Located In or Near”. Free accounts get a 50 mile radius around the Zip code.



Here’s what Mike’s talking about:

LinkedIn: Advanced Search


As a test, I searched for: keywords=”manager OR director”, title=”IT”, “in or near” my neighborhood in Colorado, and produced over 500 matches. Key to remember is that when you get a lot of results like this, the “refine search results” button is your best friend. Stick with what you’ve found, but keep adding more criteria until you finally get a small enough list you can work with.

That should get you going with more targeted searches on LinkedIn. Good luck.

Want more help on LinkedIn? I have lots of LinkedIn Help here and Mike O’Neil runs Integrated Alliances here in Colorado and can help you learn more in one of his workshops too. Finally, you can also find me on LinkedIn if you’re interested.

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About the Author: Dave Taylor has been involved with the Internet since 1980 and is internationally known as an expert on both business and technology issues. Holder of an MSEd and MBA, author of twenty books and founder of four startups, he also runs a strategic marketing company and consults with firms seeking the best approach to working with weblogs and social networks. Dave is an award-winning speaker and frequent guest on radio and podcast programs. AskDaveTaylor.com http://www.intuitive.com/blog/

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